As a wise little green man once said "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." I have written a lot about the idea of fear in my previous posts because as a Type 6 on the enneagram scale, it's an emotion I deal with a lot. I think most of us would agree that our fears determine our decisions in a lot of ways.
For example, a fear of heights leads you to avoid skydiving. A fear of enclosed spaces leads you choose the aisle over window seat on a plane. And fear of failure leads you to stay at the same job you've hated for the last fifteen years.
However; there is a unique type of fear that I have been presented with for some time now. A fear that I think many can identify with.
The fear of the disapproval of a family member.
I know, I know. I'm almost 30 years old. I own my own business. I am an attorney. I have travelled to many places entirely alone. I am a strong, independent, woman. So why does the idea of telling my mother that I am in the happiest relationship of my entire life scares the living daylights out of me?
I came out to my mother "officially" two years ago almost to the day. We had both known I was gay since I was about 14 but in my house we practiced a "don't ask don't tell" policy regarding sexuality and as a result, nothing was ever said.
Everyone told me coming out would be liberating. It would open a dialogue between my mother and myself. But the truth is, nothing really changed afterwards.
Two years later and not once has she asked me if I'm seeing anyone. Not once has she even mentioned the words "gay" or "lesbian". She still makes comments about me marrying a man and still changes the channel whenever even a rainbow tint crosses the screen.
My mother's fear of hearing that I am in a relationship with a woman has lead to her not asking me anything about my life. And my fear of her disappointment or disapproval has lead to me not telling her anything about my life.
And now all we are left with is a deafening and debilitating silence.
It's sad to think about the thousands of people who do not have living parents. Who would give anything to be able to pick up the phone and call their mother. Who save voicemails long after loved ones are gone, just to hear the soft echo of an "I love you" on the other end of the phone. And here I am - a living and loving mother on speed dial, and I am petrified to press the green call button.
"Are you ok?" She texted me today.
I responded, "Yes why?"
"I haven't heard from you in a while." She said.
But the truth is, she hasn't heard from me in years. And I don't know what to do about it.
I mean, what can you do when you have so much to say that you fear you will never find the words? When all you want to do is scream and cry and fall apart and be told it's all ok, but you're too afraid to do it, so you just stuff it all inside; like a scarecrow sewn together with strands of string, the straw popping out through the loosely tied seams because you never had the patience to sit and learn how to properly sew because you just assumed your mom would always do it for you?
What do you say when the person who should know you the most knows you the least?
I don't have the answer to any of these questions. All I know is that at this point it is was if I will have to look at my mother and say, "Hi, my name is Kacey. It's nice to meet you." And all I can do is hope she say's it back.
Maybe we never get to stop coming out. Maybe we are constantly forced to justify ourselves to certain people. Maybe our voices in society have grown so strong because no one hears us when we whisper. Maybe we are forced to shout our truth from the mountain tops because they ignored us down in the valleys.
Maybe my mother will never accept me. And it is the fear of that possibility that keeps from from even trying. And it is that fear that is causing me so much pain now.